1. What is a Productivity Challenge?

The Productivity Challenge is a national programme that seeks to support Ireland’s small businesses with less than 50 employees by giving them the right advice and resources for improving their operational efficiencies and productivity. It is made up of a pilot productivity voucher scheme supported by 500K in Government funding. The scheme was launched at the SME and Entrepreneurship Strategy Conference and is an initiative of the government to support productivity in the SME sector​ .

2. What is a Productivity Voucher?

Irish businesses or enterprises can now apply for one of 200 productivity vouchers valued at €2,500 each to help them develop a more efficient and productive business operation. You can find more information on our page: ​Productivity Vouchers Explained

3. How many vouchers will be awarded in total?

200 vouchers may be awarded.

4. Is there be a fee for entering the application process?

There is no fee for submitting an application but if you are successful, you will be required to contribute 10% (€250) towards the cost of the voucher.

5. When may I apply? What is the closing date?

This Initiative will be running for a period of 6 weeks


6. Where may I apply and obtain an Application Form?

To enter you must apply by submitting a completed version of our online application form on our ​How to Apply Page​.

7. How do I apply?

The Application process is easy – just complete a simple online application form on our ​How to Apply Page​. Complete all the relevant sections with your accurate company information whilst making sure you ​meet our eligibility criteria​. Then press ‘SUBMIT’.

8. What is the Eligibility Criteria?

Eligibility Criteria for Applicants:

● The business must be domestic – an Irish business.

● The applicant must be an Irish-owned enterprise that has less than 50 employees.

● The Applicant must have ​a​ turnover or balance sheet total of less than €10M

● An application must be submitted in the name of a company registered with the Companies Registration Office and incorporated in the Republic of Ireland at the time of application.

● Applications will also be taken from Sole Traders and Partnerships.

● Not for profit and social entrepreneurship applicants must operate on a commercial basis.

● The Business must be established for over 6 months and be trading. The application process is not open to startups.

● The business can operate in any sector subject to the exceptions outlined in our Terms And Conditions

● Busin​ess must avail of the full 3 days of consultancy offered.

● Applicants must not already be approved for any other State or EU funding for the same project in which they are seeking funding.

● Businesses operating in the following areas may not apply

○ Primary production of agricultural products, fishery and aquaculture;

○ Sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages where consumed on the retail premises

○ Activities relating to the gambling sector, including ‘gaming’ (as defined in the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956),

○ Activities relating to Adult entertainment

○ Activities relating to Tobacco products

9. Do I have to be a client of my Local Enterprise office to apply?


10. Am I eligible if already a recipient of other LEO funding programmes or grants?



11. Can I apply for more than one business?

Yes – provided your businesses are separate legal entities and are not linked enterprises.

12. I am awaiting my CRO number, can I still apply for a voucher?

You may apply if the business in question has been established for over 6 months and is currently trading.

13. What happens after I submit my application?

Successful applicants will be informed prior to year-end 2019. However, the Local Enterprise Offices retain the right to move or alter this should that be necessary. Refer to our ‘​Productivity Plan Process​’ page for more information

14. What do I do next if my business successfully receives a voucher?

I​f you are a successful applicant, report to your local enterprise office. They will identify the suitable experts to help you assess and address your productivity challenge.

15. What CAN the vouchers be used for?

The Productivity voucher can be used by participating small businesses in 2 key ways:

1. Engage and leverage experts, who can consult with you and help you assess your business’ value chain and operations. This process can cover supply chain management, internal business and production operations, right through to logistics and your distribution network.

2. Invest in training & capability development. It will support the development of a more effective, capa​ble and efficient workforce through relevant training.


16.How long are the vouchers valid for?

The productivity Vouchers are valid for 6 months from receipt of the voucher and meeting with your Local Enterprise Office.

17. Who are the designated Experts involved in the programme?

The experts advice and consultancy services will be made available via your Local enterprise office network.

18. How does the company pay for the service(s) provided by the Expert Provider?

Payment for expert services will be made via the relevant Local Enterprise Office you are engaging with, prior to commencement of the initiative.

19. Can external companies/consultancies be engaged on voucher projects?

Yes – Your Local Enterprise Office will assist you in identifying the relevant experts.

20. Are vouchers subject to VAT?

Your Local Enterprise Office will be transacting directly with the relevant consultants or providers. As a result your VAT Accounts will not be affected.


21. Can I apply again if I am unsuccessful the first time?

This is a Pilot Initiative which will be evaluated following its conclusion. Should there be subsequent rounds, no pre-existing applicants will be prevented from applying.

22. What if I made a mistake on my online application form and need to resubmit it again?

Please send an email with your corrections​ ​info@productivitychallenge.ie​ ​ and identify your original application in the email.

23. How do I know if my application has been submitted

You will get a confirmation email from ​info@productivitychallenge.ie​.​ ​once you have submitted your application online. It will confirm that your application has been received